On December 11th, 2017, over sixty NGP members from across Long Island and New York City gathered at the South Huntington Public Library for a Next Generation Politics Town Hall with former Congressman Steve Israel.

Congressman Israel is the former United States Representative for New York’s third congressional district, serving in Congress from 2001 to 2007. He is the former head of messaging for the House Democratic Caucus with a history of bipartisan efforts. Israel is the author of The Global War on Morris and Big Guns; in 2017, he joined CNN as a political commentator and began his work as Chairman of the LIU Global Institute.

The event, originally slated for an hour, extended into a nearly two hour discussion with the Congressman. Israel kicked off his talk by discussing his time in Congress, and several six “mega-trends” that he believes will dominate the next several decades. The majority of the event, though, consisted of Israel answering questions from NGP members.

A diverse group of students were present, with varying political ideologies, concerns, background, and passions, and, naturally, the conversation touched on several topics. Questions (and follow-up questions) on campaign finance reform, gang violence, foreign policy, the war on drugs, sexual harassment, DACA, and, of course, the Trump administration were asked.

At the conclusion of the Town Hall, Israel spoke with individual members about opportunities for civic involvement that extended beyond the traditional “call your congressman” and “make sure you vote” adages. And almost all members agreed that, despite their personal political preferences, it was refreshing to hear from Israel, who spoke about his experiences and opinions and wasn’t worrying about collecting votes in the process.